This year I’ve been baking along the Great British Bake Off. It was the second year in a row, you can have a look at my bakes from last year. I used the recipes I tried last year to created new recipes and I also made some of them again, like the Victorian fruit cake for Christmas.
This year had some amazing recipes as well. Because of the challenges and my intention to bake each week, I baked things I’ve wanted but kept postponing, like the Yorkshire puddings, roulade and citrus meringue pie. This year it was harder because they didn’t mention the challenges and I had to wait until the show was on TV before baking. I’m not sure what will happen next year and with the move to the Channel 4 and rumours of a celebrity Bake Off, I might decide not to bake along.
In the last 10 weeks I’ve been Star Baker once, at bread week and I’ve worked with Tesco for a couple of bakes.
I’ve started before seeing the show with a Victoria Sandwich, but it wasn’t a challenge in the first week as I assumed, but in the last one. It’s quite funny it happened this way. All the recipes are on my food blog: CookStyle, if you want to try any of them.
Week 1. Cake Week
Signature – Drizzle cake
Technical – Jaffa cakes
Showstopper – Mirror glaze cake
I wasn’t sure I will bake again, only a couple of days after baking the Victoria sponge. But I wanted to make at least one of the challenges and that cake wasn’t in the challenges, so I’ve made Lemon and Coconut Drizzle Cake. I loved it, I love lemon and drizzle cake.
Week 2. Biscuit Week
Signature – 24 identical decorated biscuits
Technical – Viennese whirl
Showstopper – Biscuit structure
This week I wanted to bake the Viennese whirls. I’m not too good at decorating and a biscuit structure seemed too much hassle. Maybe I’ll try one for Christmas, when I’ll have more time.
The first batch of biscuits was appalling, I had to bake again and the second time they were amazing. I used raspberry curd instead of buttercream and they were a delight.
Week 3. Bread Week
Signature – Twisted sweet dough
Technical – Dampfnudeln
Showstopper – Three different flours to create a huge showstopper centrepiece
Dampfnudeln looked interesting to make, I might try them one day.
I mentioned that I got Star Baker for the showstopper from Jenny. It was trickier to do this showstopper than I’ve anticipated. I used 5 types of flour instead of the 3 they asked for: rice flour, semolina, cornflour, wholemeal and white.
As a result of this bake, now I’m considering cornflour more than before. I usually use 6 types of wheat flour in my bakes, that is plain, strong and self-raising as wholemeal and white. There is variety, but it’s all wheat and other types of flours make the texture different. It was exciting to try a bake like this one.
I’m planning another bread centerpiece for Christmas.
Week 4. Batter Week
Signature – Savoury Filled Yorkshire Puddings
Technical – Laced Pancakes
Showstopper – Sweeet Churros
I can’t say I was blown away by Batter Week. It was great I finally made Yorkshire puddings from scratch. I filled them with mushrooms, soft cheese and garlic. They were delicious. I will like to make them again.
The laced pancakes looked interesting and I would like to try them, but I don’t find them particularly suitable for Bake Off. I can say the same about churros, they aren’t baked.
Week 5. Pastry Week
Signature – Danish Pastries
Technical – Bakewell Tart
Showstopper – Filo Pastry Amuse Bouche
I mentioned this tart a few times. It was so much fun to make it. I like Bakewell tart, although not the one with icing on top, as I find that too sweet. I like frangipane, the almond flavour. I don’t bake as many pies as I should, they are yummy.
Week 6. Botanical Week
Signature – Citrus Meringue Pie
Technical – 2 French Herb Fougasse Breads
Showstopper – 3 Tiered Flower Cake
I loved Botanical Week and I baked all three challenges.
I made a Lemon meringue pie in the past and it turned out a disaster. Now I’ve made one and it was stunning. I love lemon meringue pies and this one was exactly as they should be. I will try more citrus pies, with orange and grapefruit.
We had the pie with flowering tea, it couldn’t be more appropriate than that.
I love baking bread, eating it, trying new bread recipes. I never heard about Fougasse before the show. I’ve baked a batch and after 2 days I’ve baked another batch. It is just too good and very easy to make. We don’t have bread, so I might bake another batch today. With lots of herbs, it’s a treat.
The showstopper was a cake with freehand made roses and leaves. I enjoyed making the flowers from fondant icing. I liked doing them so much that I bought more tools for shaping fondant. As for flavours, I chose matcha and rose.
Week 7. Dessert Week
Signature – Roulade
Technical – Marjolaine
Showstopper – Mousse Cakes
I was thinking of Marjolaine and Mousse Cakes too as I’m sure I would love them. As I was away in London, the time was limited.
Week 8. Tudor Week
Signature – Pies
Technical – Jumbles
Showstopper – Marzipan Centrepiece
I am fascinated by historical bakes. I liked Victorian Week last year at Bake Off and now Tudor week was just as exciting.
I made a Tudor pie with hot-water pastry, it was the first time I’ve made this kind of pastry and I loved it. The filling was made with veggies that were available in the 16th century England and served it with Cider and heritage carrots with honey.
Week 9. Patisserie Week
Signature – Savoury Parmiers
Technical – Savarin
Showstopper – Fondant Fancies
I wanted Coffee Fondant Fancies. It was the first time I’ve made this sort of cream, by replacing most of the butter with mascarpone. It has a similar texture to the buttercream, but less calories and considerably less fat. Full fat mascarpone has 50% less fat than butter.
Week 10. The Final
Signature – Meringue crown
Technical – Victoria sponge
Showstopper – Sausage Rolls with Puff Pastry, Quiche, Fruit Tarts, Savoury Scones and Chocolate cake. Fit for the Queen
I said I’ve already baked Victoria Sponge, so I’ve decided to make the other two challenges.
I made the whole picnic. So I’ made: 12 Leek and soft cheese Quiches; 12 savoury scones with mushrooms, 12 vegetarian Quorn sausage and sundried tomatoes rolls, 12 fruit tarts with creme patissiere, whipped cream, cherry, dragon fruit and kiwi; Orange and Chocolate Cake.
The cake was my favourite. I’m a little obsessed with it, I have to admit. Even now when I’m writing this, I’m considering getting another small slice. Using a whole orange, boiled for 30 minutes and blitzed in the food processor, in the cream and sponge made it taste amazing. I will make more cakes with boiled orange, it’s so different.
The British Crown Meringue Cake was the final bake for this year. I think it looks stunning. It is the second attempt, but it was worth the effort. The meringue layers are filled with whipped cream and sour cherries.
These were my bakes. I enjoyed baking everything and pushing myself to do more and try new things. It was a great experience.